Title: Keeping Silence

Author: MJ

Author's email: mjr91@aol.com

Author's URL: http://www.geocities.com/coffeeslash/mj/

Date: March 12, 2004

Pairing: Archer/Reed

Rating: G

Spoilers: Azati Prime, Hatchery

Summary: Why Malcolm had nothing to say when Jon volunteered to take the torpedoes in on the Xindi ship

Archive: if it's on your list, you're welcome to it. Others, as always, please ask. [Archer's Enterprise]

Beta: elf, Red

For Shi, who likes evil and angst and is luring me to the dark side.

Travis was speaking. So was Trip. They were animated, arguing, defending their positions passionately. Jonathan Archer ignored both of them.

And Malcolm Reed was speechless.

No choice, he supposed. Travis and Trip both knew how to pilot that insectoid ship already—no training required. Malcolm didn't know how, and though he was a perfectly capable pilot, certainly Travis was the best on the ship—

—all of this was utter rubbish anyway, no?

—besides, all things considered, the ship needed his own skills more than ever if, if…

What did Jon mean, *he* was going in?

Speechlessness was the only possible reaction.

The voice worked later, back in Jon's quarters. "It's suicide, love, don't you know that?"

"That's why I can't send anyone else."

"I'm the weapons officer. It should be me, not the ship's captain."

"I can learn to pilot that ship faster than you can. It's what I trained for in the first place—I'm a pilot, remember? Besides, you know that the ship's going to need the best possible person to keep it safe. That's your job." A pause, remembering another incident. "And the ship will need you anyway. Trip—Trip may want someone else to be First Officer. I can't think of anyone on this ship better suited for the position." Another pause. "I need to recommend you for promotion before I leave."

"I don't want the rank, love. I want you. There has to be another way to do this."

"Believe me, if I thought there was, I'd have gone for it. I don't want to do this any more than you want me to. But…this isn't about us."

"I know…I know."

"Malcolm—no, don't go yet. Please—come over here—"

And once again, he was at a loss for words.

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